Anna Girling

Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow in Twentieth-Century Literature


I joined Edinburgh as an Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow in Twentieth-Century English and American Literature in 2023 and have previously taught at Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, and York University in Toronto.

I completed my PhD at Edinburgh (on Edith Wharton, gay male literature, and literary decadence) in 2022. I also have an MA in English and Modern History from the University of St. Andrews and an MA in English Literature from York University in Toronto.

In 2022-2023 I was an Early Career Fellow at the Institute for English Studies (School of Advanced Study, University of London) and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Brighton. I am currently an Affiliate at Edinburgh's Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and am a Member-at-Large on the Executive Board of the Edith Wharton Society ( I have previously also held an Eccles Centre Fellowship at the British Library.

Undergraduate teaching


Cities of Words: Twentieth-Century Urban American Writing

Edinburgh in Fiction/Fiction in Edinburgh

Literary Studies 1A

The American Novel, 1920-1960

The American Novel, 1970-2010

Areas of interest for supervision

Please note that I am not able to supervise PhD students. If you are interested in studying for a PhD in English at Edinburgh, you can learn more about the application process here:

Research summary

My work to date has centred on the literary representation and theorisation of community, and the relationship between politics, gender, and literary form, in writing from across the twentieth century. My wider research and teaching interests include: literary decadence, aestheticism, cosmopolitanism, and modernism; anti-colonial literature and postcolonialism; women’s writing; middlebrow literature and crime writing; book and publishing history; periodical studies; gender, sexuality, camp, and queer studies; and many other aspects of twentieth-century prose writing from and about the UK, Europe, US, and Caribbean.

My PhD thesis, 'Edith Wharton and queer history at the fin de siècle', which I am currently revising for publication, places the American writer Edith Wharton in the context of European decadent literature, in particular a gay male literary tradition, and of the particular moment in the history of sexuality at which she was writing. I approach Wharton as a modernist scholar as well as an Americanist, and have used recent work in queer theory, decadent, and modernist studies, and cosmopolitanism – in conjunction with a rigorous historical contextualisation of her work – to reassess her career.

My current research includes work on the writer, publisher, editor, and activist, Nancy Cunard, and in particular her anti-colonial and anti-fascist writings from the 1930s.


I also occasionally write fiction reviews for the Times Literary Supplement (

I wrote this blog post ( for the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities in the summer of 2020 about my experience of being an un-funded PhD student.